Sharyl Attkisson Book: White House Pressured C-SPAN, Plus, Bonus Video of Hacker Controlling Her Computer
Among the juicier tidbits in the new book “Stonewalled” by former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson relates to a tiff between C-SPAN and the White House. As Attkisson tells the story, C-SPAN eminence Brian Lamb interviewed President Obama on Aug. 12, 2010, for a documentary on the White House. In the session, Lamb asks Obama about the Oval Office: “What have you changed in this room?”
The president responds, “We have not yet redecorated this room . . . Given that we are in the midst of some very difficult economic times, we decided to hold off last year in terms of making some changes.”
Two weeks later, reports Attkisson in the book, a White House official contacts C-SPAN to say, “the Washington Post will be breaking the story of the President’s reported multi-million dollar renovation of the Oval Office,” reads “Stonewalled.” According to the author, the White House official, then-TV liaison Dag Vega, wanted to “make sure” that C-SPAN didn’t run its Obama interview snippet after the story in The Post surfaced. “The one taped just days before in which President Obama had implied, that in the spirit of austerity, there would be no Oval Office redecoration,” writes Attkisson. Actually, the president merely said that they’d made a decision to “hold off last year” on the changes — not that the changes wouldn’t be coming soon.
In any case, the White House, via Vega, wanted C-SPAN to drop the footage later, to coincide with the release of its full documentary about the White House. Not when it was most relevant, and when it would raise questions about why the president had spoken of austerity.
It’s almost as if they were liars! Speaking of Attkisson, she released this video of her computer doing odd things:
Here’s a genius analysis: it’s a stuck key!
Consensus from incoming: Attkisson vid doesn't show much. Could be banal cause (stuck key, bluetooth) Real hackers wouldn't do it that way.
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) October 31, 2014
Really? A stuck key? With all that selecting and mouse movement and clicking and purposeful motion towards a button on the screen?
It doesn’t seem like secret hacking so much as a psychological game. Someone was telling her, in no uncertain terms: “We have control of your computer.” And they did a bunch of really obvious stuff — highlighting text, closing a document, etc. — to make sure the message was seen.
That, or a stuck key.